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Cultivating Nebraska's Agricultural Leaders

Mike Motz, Sidney Sun-Telegraph

Leaders possess foresight and know to prepare themselves and their businesses for the future by learning as much as possible about the changing nature of the agriculture industry and preparing for the future. The Nebraska LEAD 42 program is looking for applicants determined to be leaders in production agriculture and agribusiness, and help promote the interests of the agricultural industry in Nebraska.

Nebraska LEAD 42 Director Terry Hejny visited Sidney on Friday to promote the program and encourage applicants to consider participating in this long time program. Nebraska LEAD (Leadership Education/Action Development), now in its 42nd year, LEAD's goals are to produce strong leaders who would effectively promote and lobby for agricultural interests in Nebraska, and are able to adapt and capitalize on changes in technology and business practices.

“We really look to find the best and most energetic people that want to be leaders in their communities, that have demonstrated leadership ability and who are looking for ways to connect with other communities and groups to benefit the Ag business here,” said Hejny.

The program selects up to 30 Nebraskans drawn from five separate districts in the state. In addition to monthly three-day seminars throughout Nebraska from mid-September through early April each year, Nebraska LEAD Fellows also participate in a 10-day national study/travel seminar and a two-week international study/travel seminar.

With seminar topics focused on agricultural policy, agribusiness marketing, agriculture in politics, leadership and communication skills, and many others, Nebraskans looking to develop and utilize their leadership skills should seriously consider the LEAD 42 program.

“We are looking for the decision makers and the people that can solve problems to be the voices for Nebraska agribusiness,” said Hejny.

The program is offered by the Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Council, a nonprofit organization, and has partnered with the University of Nebraska’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources as well as other Nebraska universities, and benefactors in the business and industry sectors statewide. After completing the LEAD program, graduates will have a reverence and understanding of Nebraska's rich agricultural history, will have worked with many varied communities and business models, and will have been trained on how to effectively inquire and learn about issues and make smart choices.

The LEAD Program has had over 1500 graduates during its 40+ years of cultivating and directing industry leaders in Nebraska. Terry Hejny believes deeply in the program, and as its director for the last 16 years, he has been all over Nebraska's agricultural landscape, interacting with Nebraska's elite in the agribusiness while helping develop the leaders of today and the future.

Hejny stressed that the LEAD 42 program requires commitment and work, requires a high level of self motivation and discipline, and the ability to manage many tasks at the same time. Most program participants have many commitments from their own businesses, and must have the ability to manage their time effectively. Hejny stressed that most program participants didn't need to be urged too heavily to commit as the programs and benefits are very apparent to emerging business leaders with leadership potential.

“You can tell who has the ability and drive to really be a leader in this industry, and many times people with potential hesitate with an opportunity like this, and have all kinds of reasons why it's not the perfect time to do it. The leaders that separate themselves are the ones that know that if you wait for the perfect moment, it never arrives. The perfect moment is created from launching forward from ability and desire with commitment and certainty.”

For more information, contact Terry Hejny, Director, Nebraska LEAD Program, [email protected], 402-472-6810.

To apply for the Nebraska LEAD 42 Program, you can contact the Nebraska LEAD Program office at [email protected]. To learn about the selection process, go to For an application via mail, send your request to 104 ACB, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 68583-0940, or (402) 472-6810.


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